What does illiterate mean?

It is said that someone is illiterate when they do not have any knowledge about reading or writing, that is, they cannot read or write. At present, the illiteracy rate worldwide is quite low , as governments have tried to do everything possible to make the population literate. A person who does not have knowledge about a specific subject is also called illiterate.

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Due to the importance of knowing how to read and write, illiteracy is considered an epidemic that puts the progress and freedom of each individual at risk. An illiterate person will be unable to read his rights, he will not be able to pick up a newspaper to read the news or write a Curriculum Vitae to search for a job.

If you analyze all the possible scenarios in which an illiterate person will not be able to understand something written or fill out a form , you can get a clear idea of ​​how fundamental literacy is today.

However, it should be noted that knowing how to read and write is the most basic of literacy (the opposite of illiteracy). In addition to this, a good reading comprehension is required , otherwise, functional illiteracy would be presented, a type of illiteracy.

Types of illiteracy

As just mentioned, there are types of illiteracy, among which are functional illiteracy and digital illiteracy. Both types of illiteracy require attention, since nowadays it is not only enough to know how to read and write, it is also important to know how to use digital media.

  • Functional illiteracy: This type of illiteracy refers to people who have reading comprehension problems. This means that, although they know the letters and have literacy skills , they are unable to use them in a practical way. An individual with functional illiteracy will not be able to read fluently, write legible text, understand signs, and so on.
  • Digital illiteracy: For its part, digital illiteracy refers to those who cannot interact with digital media due to lack of knowledge. A digitally illiterate person is, possibly, due to lack of contact with new technologies, that is, they have not had the opportunity to become familiar with digital media.

An illiterate population supposes an economic and social backwardness, which is why governments have established primary education as compulsory. In primary school, boys and girls receive the necessary education to learn to read and write. Of course, it is also essential that parents and / or guardians encourage reading and writing in the children of the home.

As for digital literacy, for it to take place, people must have access to the internet and new technologies . Likewise, it is essential to employ the most appropriate teaching practices for each individual.

Examples of illiterate

  • An illiterate person will be unable to fill out forms at the bank.
  • Because you cannot read, you will not be able to understand many signs that contain text.
  • Illiterate people cannot take advantage of digital media since they cannot access the sites of their interest or use social networks.
  • Because they cannot read or write, they cannot read or write text messages.
  • In a restaurant, an illiterate person will not be able to read what dishes are on the menu.
  • Using public transport can also be difficult as you will have to turn to other people to find out which metro or bus to take.

Other uses of the term ‘illiterate’ may include the following:

  • Luis definitely does not know anything about music, he is illiterate on the subject.
  • I know a lot about cinema ; compared to me, the others are illiterate.
  • I have no idea about baking, I am completely illiterate about it.

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